Bodelwyddan is a curious place. Officially recognised as a town, although referred to by locals and visitors alike as a village, its history centres on the splendid St Margaret’s Church, otherwise known as the Marble Church, and Bodelwyddan Castle. Apparently taking its name from Elwyddan, a 5th Century Romano-British chieftan, the town of Bodelwyddan translates into English as, ‘Home of Elwyddan’. A Roman road, runs south of Bodelwyddan, linking the industrial sites, forts and settlements of North East Wales and Chester (Deva), including the speculated fort at Varis, with Canovium (Caerhun) and ultimately Anglesey. And that seems the defining aspect of Bodelwyddan. For much of its history, it seems to be one of those curious, ‘places between places,’ found quite frequently, a place that someone with power and influence took an interest to and did something with. And with Bodelwyddan that someone was probably the Humphreys from Anglesey, who first began work on what we now know as Bodelwyddan Castle sometime in the mid 15th Century. There is a history of lead mining in the area, with several shafts doted around the area, especially around Engine Hill road, so named for the engines that kept the shafts free of water.
Bodelwyddan played an important role in the two world wars. There was a large training camp there before the First World War, which became a major base and was the scene of the Kinmel Park Riots in 1919. The area around Bodelwyddan Castle and Kinmel Park are pockmarked with the physical remnants of practice trenches and old World War One huts. It served again as a base for American troops during the Second World War and by the British Army till the 1960s.
The 1980s saw the building of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd close to St. Margaret’s Church and Faenol Fawr House and the continued growth of the A55 expressway. Today, as holiday makers crawl along the A55 towards North West Wales and Anglesey, Bodelwyddan is an experience of looking right towards the Marble Church and left towards Bodelwyddan Castle and so remains, it seems, a ‘place between places.’ It is, however an area full of interest and well worth the time required to explore its complicated past.